Narrowing Down Ireland Itinerary

Travel Forums Europe Narrowing Down Ireland Itinerary

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1. Posted by kaseykr (First Time Poster 1 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Hello! Would love some feedback regarding an 8 day trip to southern Ireland I'm taking in mid-September. I've rented a car and want to "see a lot" but I also don't want to feel rushed. I'm the type who would rather see " a lot of a little" versus "a little of a lot".

I understand people can get protective of their local spots (as someone who lives in a tourist area with very little "locals only" spots left, I respect and understand this). I will say I'm pretty tight-lipped about exact locations I travel to and am discerning with revealing "the road less traveled". So, if you worry that you're going to share a local spot/lesser-known town to me, and I'm going to blow it up on the internet, I can assure you that's not my style.

My itinerary so far includes Galway, Doolin/Cliffs of Moher, Killarney (town and/or park), Kinsale, Kilkenny then back to Dublin where I fly in and out of. I love walking around cute towns with gardens and paths and streets, as well as hiking, so I wanted to throw a bigger park in there.

How's this itinerary sound? Where should I spend two days, versus just one? Anything on this list that's been over-hyped? Any ideas for narrowing down the list, or is this a fairly reasonable itinerary for 8 days? I've heard Killarney can be insane with tourists, and, if that's true, is there any other good hiking spot recommendations?

  • Also read that an international travel permit is NOT required, just a driver's license, which I have. Can anyone verify?
  • Checked the Ireland travel page and did not see vaccine requirements, just loose recommendations - can anyone verify?

[ Edit: Edited on 26 Jul 2022, 01:31 GMT by kaseykr ]

2. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 4467 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

You don't give your citizenship, info which is essential when asking about any country's entry or driving requirements.

From your use of American English spelling ('license') and use of the word 'cute' for towns (in British & Irish English towns are never 'cute'!) I'm going to assume you're from the US or Canada.

>Checked the Ireland travel page and did not see vaccine requirements, just loose recommendations - can anyone verify?

The official Irish government website states that travellers are not required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test:

>an international travel permit is NOT required, just a driver's license,

I think you mean an 'international driving permit'?

Assuming you have a US or Canadian licence you do not legally need an IDP but you should double-check with your car hire company. Individual companies are entitled to set their own rules about what documents they wish to see. IDPs are also a useful extra bit of ID:

I'll ponder your itinerary and come back with some ideas.

3. Posted by Cavermo (Budding Member 10 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!


First of all, enjoy visiting Ireland in September, its a good time to come as it may be a little quieter and the weather is usually nice if you can avoid rain, its pleasantly warm.

I think you have a good itinerary planned. Hopefully you will arriving in Dublin and driving from the airport outside of the rush hour as it can be a little confusing if you are not used to it and traffic on the roads you need to use will be busy till you get outside of Dublin, good thing is you will be avoiding the city. In short from the airport you will head the M1 towards Dublin the on the M50 southbound for about 20km to exit 7 for Galway / Westport / Lucan. Just be advised you will be using toll roads. The M50 has only cameras to read your registration plate so you have to go online or find a shop that lets you pay your toll. I use a tag on my windscreen so the tolls are slightly cheaper and automatic for me but I think the M50 is about €3. Do pay it though as the cost will go to your hire car and they will pursue you, it also goes up in charge if you leave it. Anyway from the M50 at junction 7 you will head west on the M4, you can relax then as the drive becomes pleasant and eventually merge onto the M6 for Galway about 50km later. M4 also has a toll, think it €3 again, different setup to M50 as you have to drive through a barrier, you can toss cash into a bucket or pay by card, no personnel at any of the tolls anymore in Ireland. It would be a good idea to get about €20 in change of €1 or €2 coins for tolls and street parking wherever you need and keep it in the car.

Galway is about 2 to 2.5hrs drive from when you get onto the M4, Athlone is about halfway there and is a built up town on the river Shannon where you might find somewhere nice for lunch. Galway traffic for gridlock can be one of the worst in the country so be warned, if you are on holidays you prob won't care though. Galway city is nice and full of character, if you decide to stay a couple of day there you will enjoy with no shortage of places to eat and drink and people are friendly. You should venture out of the city if you have time, head out through Spiddal and head to Clifden. You will pass through a lot of Gaeltacht areas down this part of the country where you may notice that a lot of the street signs will only be in Irish and where the locals will speak Irish as their first language, they still speak English but Irish is their preferred. If you continue on the N59 from Clifden go to see Kylemore Abbey. Kylemore Abbey is stunning and as are the grounds, such a peaceful place and in such a beautiful setting. Go online to find out more but I would say its a must. You can make it back to Galway later in the day as this journey will take you the day to do. On the map it doesn't look far but the road will slow you down and as a tourist you want to take in the sights and do it right.

Doolin and The Cliffs of Moher is the the one I think you could spend the least amount of time in. You say you like to hike so maybe you will want to stay longer but purely as a sightseeing trip one day would do it for me. Its quite wild country side around there so maybe driving it you will see more The cliffs, while stunning, are cliffs and after an hour you may want to move on and I don't find there's much in Doolin but the drives around the coast are stunning. You have Lahinch, Kilkee and Doonbeg relative close which you could see and if you really were up for it you are not that far from Limerick.

You will want to spend some time in Killarney Yes it can be busy with tourist but you will be there slightly off season so it will be a bit quieter. You have the Killarney national park just outside of the town with the beautiful lakes and trails which stunning in both fine and bad weather. Go on google maps over Killarney and you will see all the tourist sight icons appear and they are all close by. I would deffo spend 2 days in Killarney.

Kinsale is beautiful, I love Kinsale.. Its so picturesque. Its very close to Cork city as well if you wanted to see that. If you like fish to eat, fishy fishy restaurant is worth booking in advance. Charles fort and James fort are worth the visit but even just spending timeout in Kinsale is worth it.

Kilkenny is another great stop on your tour. You could leave Kinsale and make your way to Kilkenny in about 2hrs. Why not take a 40 mi diversion in toward Blarney castle in Cork and kiss the Blarney stone while you are in the area. Will an hour onto your journey but its good to say you've done it. Beautiful area and worth seeing in my opinion, Cork city is lovely as are the people (I am from Dublin, not Cork so being genuine), park in a mulitstory carpark and walk around the city for an hour or so, The English Market is in the city centre and is worth a visit, do Blarney before so you can go straight to Kilkenny after. Kilkenny is small, bigger than Killarney but smaller than Galway, Limerick, Cork or Dublin. You could walk Kilkenny. The castle is a must, it does have a bit of a reputation as a good city for Stag or Hen parties at the weekend but in saying that its not super crazy in that way, you can avoid it and its certainly nothing like Temple Bar in Dublin.

If you found you had time on the way back to Dublin, about 1hrs drive south of Dublin City you could find Glendalough, stunning place, similar to Kylemore abbey or the National Park in Killarney, loads of hiking. The Dublin / Wicklow mountains have loads of hikers and places to go, if you think about doing that I will respond again with info.

Im pretty sure your drivers licence will suffice. Never heard of anyone driving on a international drivers license. Ive never even seen one and Ive never driven on one, only on my Irish one so would be surprised. Im sure I would have heard of this from friends and family that have done so.

Ireland is open so at this moment in time at the end of July there are no restrictions on enteriing Ireland or moving around. Medical settings like visiting a doctor or hospital or pharmacy require you to wear a mask. The government advice is to wear one on public transport or in built up areas but that's only an advice, its not a requirement and nobody does. There has been a wave over the last few weeks so mask wearing is more evident but very minimal. It should feel and be pretty normal when you arrive.

Ireland is a safe country to visit and people are friendly and welcoming. Just exercise a degree of caution when parking the car. I have seen tourist park up in forest parks with all their belongings on show in the car as they are in a nice area and in "Ireland". The same rules apply here as in anywhere in the world, leave nothing on show in your car. Some people target areas they know tourists will park and think nothing of breaking your windows and stealing what they see so just be street smart when it comes to parking, it won't happen but it might and I have seen it happen a lot.

Have a great time and if you need anymore info just get back in touch

4. Posted by ToddP (Moderator 227 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Hi there,
good to hear you are coming over.

The itinerary sounds nice and you are covering a lot of ground. I am in the same position as yourself as I like to see as much as you can. However, I wonder are you stretching yourself too thin on the ground by visiting all the places as planned? Ireland is bigger than people do imagine and especially we have so much to see and do in each location. Personally I would like to suggest at least 'slice' Ireland in half and try to explore that on a 8 day trip first. At some point later in your life I'm sure you will be back and then you could visit the other parts left.

Kerry is nice, but it is a lot of driving to get there and plenty driving when there. You can fly cheaply from DUB and maybe pick up a car there as an option. Other alternative is do Galway and the rest as palnned and then turn towards Kilkenny without heading South (Kerry, Cork, etc).

I really like you to have the best experience ever here with us and maybe in 8 days 'slightly' reduced itinerary will give you that extra time to explore and do few walks, etc.

Just a thought :)

On 26 July 2022 at 02:35, kaseykr wrote:

Hi Todd!

I posted in the general forum but figured I'd reach out here as well.

In mid-September, I'm flying into Dublin and have 8 days to explore. I want to see as much as I can without feeling rushed. I'm renting a car. My vague plan, which I'm completely open to changing, is to immediately leave Dublin and drive to Galway. After that, Doolin/Lahinche/Cliffs of Moher, then Killarney, then Kinsale, then Kilkenny, then back to Dublin for a day or half day before flying out.

I've heard mixed things about most of these places, except Kilkenny, which I've only heard great things about. Any comments on this itinerary? I've heard Killarney and the national park are great but can be insanely crowded, so if this could be true, any other recommendations for beautiful hikes? I'm trying to make a nice easy sweep down from Galway and back up to Dublin.

For extra thoughts: I'm into a bit of everything. Good food, pretty scenery, historical sites. But most great people - love a good conversation!